This has been an anxious past few months for many in Tulsa's arts community. That community was very much caught off-guard by the decision of Mayor Bartlett's office to eliminate most of the City of Tulsa's arts funding. Alarming proposals to cut staff positions at the Tulsa PAC Trust, the Waterworks Community Arts Center, and both the Heller and Clark Theatres effectively galvanized supporters all over town, and these supporters quickly spurred the City Council to oppose the Mayor's proposals.
On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome Hunter Bell and Jana Ellis, who are both involved with "[title of show]," the Tony-nominated one-act musical that is currently being staged at the Tulsa PAC by the locally-based American Theatre Company.
Molière's "Tartuffe" --- or "The Impostor" --- is a classic French play that was first performed in 1664. Bitingly satirical and LOL funny, this play tells the story of a deplorable religious con-man who tries to obtain the title to his friend's estate by sending him to jail; the title character of this ever-popular comedy also tries to rob that friend blind, to seduce his wife and daughter, and so on. "Tartuffe" is a work that's often revived in updated versions or alternate settings, and such is the case with the production of "Tartuffe" that TU's Department of Theatre is now staging.
This weekend, Tulsa Opera will continue its current season with the Oklahoma premiere of "Elmer Gantry," a Grammy Award-winning opera by Robert Aldridge. Based on the eponymous novel by Sinclair Lewis and the 1960 motion picture with Burt Lancaster and Jean Simmons, this classic piece recounts the rise and fall of a charismatic but unscrupulous thrill-seeker who joins the 1920s Evangelical movement of the American Midwest. "Elmer Gantry" will be staged at Chapman Hall in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Friday the 28th (at 7:30pm) and Sunday the 2nd (at 2:30pm).
Theatre Tulsa's New Stage initiative will soon offer its first-ever production with a widely hailed play from 2010 that has never before graced an Oklahoma stage: "Clybourne Park," by Bruce Norris, is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning comedy/drama that was written in response to Lorraine Hansberry's landmark play, "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959). "Clybourne Park" will be staged in the Liddy Doenges Theatre at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center from tomorrow night (Friday the 21st) through March 2nd.
"A Streetcar Named Desire" --- which earned playwright Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948, was the basis for the classic 1951 film with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and remains one of the fundamental if not defining works of the American stage --- is opening at 7:30pm tonight (Friday the 14th) here in Tulsa, in a new production at the Tulsa PAC's John H. Williams Theatre. This version of "Streetcar" is being produced by The Playhouse Tulsa; it's running through February 22nd.
On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Susan Nussbaum, an accomplished playwright, first-time novelist, and longtime disabilities-rights advocate. Nussbaum tells us about her widely acclaimed and award-winning debut novel, "Good Kings Bad Kings," which is just out in paperback, and which a critic for The Los Angeles Review of Books has called "a knockout.... Nussbaum possesses an astonishing ear for idiosyncratic voices, and a talent for creating characters who appear in full bloom within a few sentences.
Our guest on this installment of ST is Cody Daigle, the resident playwright with Playhouse Tulsa. Originally from Louisiana and now based here in T-Town, Daigle is a witty and engaging actor/director/playwright who's had his plays produced in New Orleans, North Carolina, NYC, Iowa, and elsewhere. His newest play is a musical comedy called "Tulsa! A Radio Christmas Spectacular," and it will be staged at the Tulsa PAC by Playhouse Tulsa --- with original songs by the outstanding Tulsa songbird Rebecca Ungerman --- on Thursday the 5th through Sunday the 8th.
On this edition of ST, we speak with Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who's well-known and widely celebrated for his drama, "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," which first appeared in the early 1990s, and which was thereafter converted into an HBO-TV miniseries that was directed by Mike Nichols.